It’s not often a band appears out of nowhere here in Victoria, BC, but that seems to be the case for Aztec. The band is currently The Zone @ 91-3’s Band of the Month, and that’s brought them to Victoria’s attention in a big and spectacular way.
Early comers to the show at Al Smith’s Studio (also the home of YYJ Rocktographers’ Festival Season showcase happening June 19th-21st, 2015) were greeted by eager members of Victoria’s newest band, Aztec. Drummer Chris Jordan, armed with the band’s EP “Stitches,” handed them out to audience members for free with a well-crafted set list as a souvenir.
As the sun started to set and the studio cooled down slightly, The Carlines frontman Sjoerd Meyer took the stage. Sjoerd has been a staple of the Victoria music scene for the last few years, playing with several bands, but most notable is his solo work with his band The Carlines.
When you see a musician play with a band, sometimes you tend to forget to listen to the music that is happening around us. Watching Sjoerd perform a solo acoustic set, one clicks into how he crafts stories into his lyrics while playing his guitar intricately. Sjoerd Meyer is one of the few local musicians that constantly has YYJ Rocktographers putting down their cameras to enjoy his performances.
Shortly after The Carlines’ set, the room packed in, with the crowd spilling into the street and hovering aimlessly around a jeep waiting for Aztec to start. Aztec’s leader, Kyle Schepens, anxiously took to the stage to perform a new song acoustically before the band came up. The other members of the band had commented that this was their first time hearing the completed song as well.
Soon, the rest of the band joined Kyle with a more plugged-in heavy rock set. Aztec touches on a sound that seems to be lacking here in Victoria these days. They’re good old fashioned lo-fi rock band; dynamic, heavy, and reminiscent of a time when music wasn’t just about surfing and campfires on the beach.
It’s clear that each member of Aztec comes from different places in western Canada. Each brings their own diversity, but unifying it with the band’s overall sound.
Sonically, their unique sound — and attitudes towards their music — differs from the current PNW sound, and has created new and loyal fans.
Just as the the crowd really seemed to be getting into the groove of Aztec’s setnew the band started playing their last song of the night, “The Benefits of Being Alone.”
Aztec is certainly a band which demands Victoria’s time and attention. Take any and every opportunity to see this high energy, distinct, and rocking local band whenever you can.